Florida storm watch: two new systems form in Eastern Atlantic as Idalia recovery continues

by | Sep 5, 2023

  • Two new storm systems are developing in the Atlantic, one near the Windward Islands and another near the coast of West Africa, with high chances of becoming hurricanes later this week.
  • Recovery efforts continue in Florida after Hurricane Idalia, with around 39,000 residents still without power and federal assistance now more widely available.
  • Hurricane Idalia rapidly intensified from a low-pressure area to a Category 4 hurricane within a few days before making landfall in Florida, marking one of the fastest rates of strengthening observed in the Atlantic.

As Florida continues its recovery from the devastation caused by Hurricane Idalia, a pair of new storm systems in the eastern Atlantic are catching the attention of weather experts.

The first, currently located halfway between western Africa and the Windward Islands in the Caribbean, has has a 100 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone within the next 48 hours, according to forecasters with the National Weather Service. Tropical cyclones have four levels, starting with a tropical depression, the weakest system, moving upward in strength to tropical storm, hurricane and major hurricane. The ultimate strength of the current system cannot yet be determined. It is moving at a speed of 15 to 20 mph towards the west-northwest, in the general direction of Florida, but its still too far out to know whether it might make landfall, though the eastern Caribbean is likely to be affected.

The second system is still near the coast of West Africa, even earlier in its formation. That storm brings a large area of rain storms and has the potential to become a tropical depression later this week. This system is moving west-northwest at a speed of 10 to 15 mph and could affect the Cabo Verde Islands by Wednesday night and Thursday.

Hurricane Idalia took just a few days to transform from a minor disturbance into a significant threat. On August 24, the system originated as a low-pressure area off the coast of Central America. It then moved into the Atlantic, and by August 26, it was near the northeastern Yucatán Peninsula. The storm quickly organized and became a tropical depression, rapidly turning into a major hurricane that roared ashore early last week.

Almost a week has passed now since that storm wreaked havoc on Florida’s Gulf Coast, and recovery efforts are in full swing. Governor Ron DeSantis visited Levy County, one of the areas hit hardest by the storm, and noted that crews were working tirelessly to restore power, but as of Monday morning, around 39,000 Floridians are still without electricity.

President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden also visited the Big Bend region on Saturday. Biden added six more counties to his federal disaster declaration, making federal assistance more readily available for those affected.


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